“How does your program highlight the plight of the women? How can your initiative be used by the youth to discuss issues affecting them? “Questions like this are the daily bread of interviews, and honestly it gets tiring to hear them over and over and over again. Now this is not because we are insensitive to the plight, we are very much are aware of the sick, the poor, the ailing systems and infrastructure you name it, we live with it every day, but from taking a moment to stop and take it all in, we realise, that maybe without knowing, the plight has begun to define us. Has that become all we see when we look at our country? Think about it for a second, isn’t one of the problems with this, our Pearl of Africa, our vantage point? Do we hurry to point out what is wrong, but are hesitant to acknowledge when things are right?
Come on a journey with us will you, to the year 1908. Tribes were at war with one another, men were being traded for salt and mirrors, communication took days, roads networks barely existent, hospitals a dream, education for the lucky few, and yet during this time Uganda was baptised the Pearl of Africa. There have been many theories as to why Churchill called Uganda the pearl, but let me give you mine.
Have you ever researched on how a pearl is made? It’s fascinating really. When a foreign object like a grain of sand makes it way through the shells of an oyster, in order to protect itself, it builds a mass around it, which mass becomes the pearl. That is the short version really but you see how magnificent this is, don’t you? From the ‘plight’ of the oyster comes the pearl.
Churchill looked at Uganda, he looked at the sickness, the pain, the war, but he also looked at the magnificent scenery, the beautiful culture in our 50 plus tribes, the wildlife, and despite he saw the mass, the beautiful mass that formed around the plight and decided to call us the Pearl of Africa. What could change if we looked at our country the way he did?
The oyster build a large beauty, a pearl, around a grain of sand. We seem to have built a large grain of sand around our pearl. If we chose to “protect”( read show the world) our pearl, wouldn’t we attract more tourists, better investors and thus create more jobs and more stability? If we chose to tell the full story, how many minds could we change, how many stereotypes could we break? Isn’t the root of our problem, our vantage point?
That’s is the riddle that needs to be solved. Koikoi.